One of my main complaints about living in the U.S. and collecting game music is that it is so expensive and it is really easy to get burned. However, when you do find something that is good, it is normally more than good - it is a treasure that you keep with you forever. Uncharted Waters II Special Edition is not only a treasure, but a gold mine.
That's not to say this arrangement of UW I and II is perfect. The first five tracks were recorded in 1990, and the other tracks were recorded in 1992. The first track sounds grand, and it really is okay, but something just doesn't want me to fall in love with it. That's not really a problem though, because the best songs on this CD are some of the best songs I have ever heard. "Olive Wind" starts off with a great acoustic guitar with some very light percussion with some unexpected chord changes. There is a sense of urgency to this song that accompanies no other on the CD.
My personal favorite on the whole CD is "Fiddler's Green". This song sounds like something you'd hear in a coffee house, but it is *fun*. The violin playing is like nothing I have ever heard before (especially at the end where the violinist just scrapes the bow along the strings for a very raw sound that fits in perfectly).
The album has a mix of light music, some sounding new age and others sounding ethnic. Don't let that hold you back, as this music will grow on you fast. Someone actually dubbed me a copy and I liked it so much that I had to buy it. It's *that* good. Much better than anything Ms. Kanno ever wrote for Macross, in my opinion.
One thing I don't like about most of us (game music fans) is that we are highly reluctant to buy a CD from a game we have never played and that doesn't have a reputation among us (i.e. Ys, Final Fantasy V). Well, having never touched an Uncharted Waters game, I can say this is one CD any game music fan should buy, whether they've played the games or not. Music like this should not be missed.